Tatran Prešov aiming highArticle
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Last season, Prešov lost the semi-final of the Qualification Tournament. This year, they are well prepared and ready to attack the VELUX EHF Champions League.

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Tatran Prešov aiming high

Eight-time Slovakian champion, Tatran Prešov started their preparation for the upcoming season at an international friendly tournament in Esslingen, Germany, where Prešov played against four German Bundesliga teams. VfL Gummersbach won the tournament but winning was not the main objective for the Slovaks. They wanted to continue their preparation for the new season under the best conditions.

Last season the Slovakian champion qualified for the VELUX EHF Champions League Qualification tournaments but they lost their semi-final against FC Porto. Since last year, the team’s manager Miroslav Šoštak and his staff worked hard to create a more competitive squad to win this years’ Qualification Tournament in Romania. Tatran Prešov will meet Maccabi Rishon from Israel in the semi-final. In the second semi-final, HCM Constanta, organiser of the Qualification Tournament, faces the Italian team SSV Loacker Bozen.

“Our expectations are realistic and the tournament will be interesting. The Israeli team is very ambitious so our semi-final match won’t be easy. Last year we didn’t make it to the final and this season we will do our best to reach our goal,” says Miroslav Šoštak.

“In the final match we will probably meet the home team from Constanta. We know that they are a strong team especially when they play in front of their fans but we will be well prepared for that kind of match. We will be physically strong for a fight “on the edge of fair play”. I am sure that handball fans will enjoy some close and exciting matches in Romania.”

Three players left - three players came

From last season’s squad, Michal Kopčo (VfL Gummersbach), Ante Kukrika (contract expired) and Pavel Niroda (Ahlen, Germany) left the team. Newcomers are Oliver Rabek (Start Nove Zamky), Andrej Petro (Dormagen) and the Czech national team right wing Jan Sobol (Vardar Skopje), who already played in Prešov in 2010/2011.

Tatran Prešov also offered contracts to talented youth players from their own school - Lukas Urban, Juraj Urban, Samuel Orlovsky, David Šterbinsky, Matej Vernarsky, Šimon Michniewicz.

TEXT: Žika Bogdanović